Pieces Falling into Place for Los Angeles Kings Down the Home Stretch

The Los Angeles Kings have recovered from a slight bump in the road to win two straight contests and remain in hot pursuit of a Western Conference postseason spot.

While they trail the Calgary Flames by one point in the Pacific Division and the Winnipeg Jets by two in the wild-card race, it feels as though the defending champions are developing another surge of late-season momentum.

Head coach Darryl Sutter’s troops have collectively raised their game, but a few recent developments have transpired to generate this timely upswing in play.


Standout Individual Performances

All-Star two-way center Anze Kopitar needed to show up down the stretch, and he’s done so to the tune of five points and a plus-four rating in the past two games.

Obviously, there’s more to his value than production, but the top-line pivot is counted on for offense in addition to his well-rounded skill set.

Against the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers, he simply took over from the opening faceoff, complementing his suffocating puck possession by looking to attack seams instead of limiting his passing to the perimeter:

Sutter added Justin Williams to the unit for a dose of control in the trenches, and that has paired nicely with Marian Gaborik’s shoot-first mentality.

However, this all boils down to Kopitar’s approach.

When he allows himself to try incisive plays, the Kings are awfully tough to beat. When he’s gun-shy, the Kings typically hit a rough patch. It’s that basic.

He’s vital to the club’s fate and appears to be hitting his stride at the most important juncture of the season.

On the back end, Andrej Sekera has proven a terrific addition since coming over from the Carolina Hurricanes. His puck-moving ability and smooth skating represent huge assets to the ...

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